I sit on my front porch swing watching the sun drop into the horizon; every sunset is a reminder of how much a fool I have been. If only I had made a choice instead of running like a coward, my life would be so different.
It has been six months since the Vamp Camp was destroyed by Eric; six months since Warlow tried to turn me into his fairy-vampire bride. I let myself be blinded by Warlow; I allowed him to distract me from the facts. He murdered my parents in a misguided attempt to protect me. He tried to kill Niall and Jason; he succeeded in murdering all the Fae at the club. He would have turned me despite my wish to wait. I let myself be blinded by Warlows supposed love for me despite all my shortcomings. But he didn’t love me; he loved the idea of no longer being alone. Warlow didn’t care who it was he spent eternity with, as long as he would have someone to walk beside him who was also a fae hybrid. I can relate to wanting to have someone by your side, to know that there is someone out there who understands you and accepts you for who you are.
I had that with Eric, but I wasn’t brave enough to pick him when I had the chance. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I turned my back on him a second time after we returned from The Authority’s compound. I lost him because of my own self-doubts and fear.
And now he is dead.
What I wouldn’t give to go back in time and do things differently. I wish I could go back to that night at Fangtasia when I first saw Eric. We were attracted to each other from the moment our eyes met, but I once again let fear rule me. I was a fool to let Bill claim me as his. Eric knew it was a lie but he didn’t force the issue. That should have been my first clue that he wasn’t the monster Bill made him out to be. I suppose I could blame Bill’s blood in me for my stupidity.
My next encounter with Eric, while frightening, should have been another clue that Eric wasn’t exactly like Bill made him out to be. Yes, Eric demanded I read humans for him to find out who the thief was at Fangtasia. However, he already knew who the thief was; he had glamoured the information out of his employees. He used this as another opportunity to see me. He even agreed to my demand that guilty humans be turned over to the police; what other vampire would ever agree to such demands from a human?
I allowed Eric’s imprisonment of Lafayette to validate Bill’s claim that he was a monster. In truth, any other vampire would have killed Lafayette after glamouring all relevant information out of him. Aside from the deplorable holding conditions and lack of basic human needs, Eric did nothing to Lafayette besides feed on him. Eric allowed his dealings with Lafayette to be influenced by my reactions. Lafayette was injured because Ginger shot him, not Eric. But my narrow-minded point of view could only see that my friend was hurt, not once did I consider what he did to be a crime.
Then there was Dallas…Dallas changed everything between Eric and I. Eric suspected the Fellowship of the Sun was involved in Godric’s disappearance, but he needed proof. That’s where I came in. It wasn’t his fault that there was a traitor in Godric’ s nest; it wasn’t Eric’s fault that I was almost raped. Eric was not responsible for the bomb. Eric was desperately trying to save his maker by any means necessary; I would have done the same thing for Gran.
Eric’s interactions with Godric showed me more than just the badass Viking Vampire Sheriff of Area 5; it showed me the man behind the vampire if you will. Eric obeyed his maker’s wishes, despite his own protests. That action alone showed the respect and admiration he had for his maker. Eric offered himself for Godric and me; that action told me that his maker meant more to him than his own existence. I watched Eric beg and plead with Godric so that he would not meet the True Death, putting his pride and ego to the side. In the end, I witnessed the most heartbreaking event in my life when Eric walked away from his beloved maker; I learned that Eric truly would have given up everything, even his own existence, to save Godric. How could I possibly think Eric was incapable of feeling after seeing that?
Godric was the only constant being in Eric’s thousand years on this Earth; I could not even begin to fathom how much the loss of Godric affected him. It hurt me so much to see Eric on his knees, begging for his maker to stay with him. That depth of devotion was something I never expected to see from Eric. I thought he was only concerned with himself, that he couldn’t possibly care about anyone else; but I was wrong. Still waters run deep had never been truer then when referring to Eric Northman.
Yes, Eric did trick me into taking his blood in Dallas, but again, I failed to see his action for what it was. Eric did it so he could find me if I was ever in trouble (which let’s face it seems to be all the time). In Dallas, Eric had to rely on Barry to find out where I was; having to rely on others was not Eric’s strongest feature. Plus, Eric could tell there was something off about my relationship with Bill; he was trying to help me see the truth. Why is it I never believed that Bill’s blood would have the same effects on me as Eric’s? Just another shining example of how much of an idiot I really am.
Yes, I had dreamed about both Eric and Bill. The dreams about Bill, while sexual in nature, always seemed to have an overlying sense of fear and unease to them. The dreams about Eric . . . While some of them were the stuff of every woman’s fantasy, most of them showed how much he truly cared for me, how much he was willing to do for me. In my dreams, Eric and I talked, we laughed, we shared true affection in addition to the life-altering sex. I should have been able to notice a difference in the types of dreams, but I guess the expression “dumb blonde” exists for a reason.
When Bill was kidnapped, the first person I turned to for help was Eric. When I went to Fangtasia, I was seeking Eric’s help. I didn’t expect to walk in and see Eric with that whore tied up. I lashed out at Eric because I was hurt and a little jealous. It was irrational, but it hurt me to see Eric with someone else. Part of me was envious of Yvetta for being with Eric; another part of me was aroused both by Eric’s magnificent body and at the thought of him doing that to me. I couldn’t admit to him or myself that I wanted him; I feared an attachment to Eric would be harmful to me in more ways than one.
Two nights later, Eric showed up at my house offering to help me. He explained things to me about the supernatural world rather than hiding behind the curtain of “vampire business”. Of course, Eric being Eric, flirted with me; no I take that back. Eric made it perfectly clear the things he wanted to do to my body, and I was tempted. Lord was I tempted; what hot-blooded woman wouldn’t be tempted by an offer from a sex God? When he noticed the engagement ring from Bill, Eric’s attitude changed. He became surly, antagonistic, belittling my Christian values. If I had known him better, I would have known he was acting out because he was also hurt and a little jealous. Despite me belonging to Bill, Eric protected me. He defended me from the rogue Were and he arranged for Alcide to protect me. Why…why didn’t I realize then how often Eric actually protected me? Why didn’t I realize how much he cared about me?
If I am honest with myself (and if I can’t be honest with myself, who can I be honest with?), what hurt me the most in Jackson wasn’t finding out Bill cheated on me with his maker. It wasn’t even having him break up with me. Don’t get me wrong, they hurt; my first break up, of course it hurt. But Eric saying I meant nothing to him destroyed me. Other than Gran, Eric is the only one who made me feel like I was special, that I was something to be valued and not treated like the gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe. Bill never made me feel valued; he never treated me like an equal. He treated me like a delicate flower that was to be protected from the harsh realities of his world. In truth, he just wanted me kept in the dark.
Eric, once again, was willing to give up his existence to make certain I was safe. I lost sight of that in between being held against my will, being nearly drained, and feeling betrayed by both Bill and Eric. When I think back on it, I saved Eric that morning because I couldn’t imagine a world without him in it. He had existed for over a thousand years, he was larger than life. To see him burning in the sun was wrong.
Despite everything that happened between me and Bill, I almost took him back like the fool I am. But Eric saved me again by telling me the truth about Bill’s reason for being in my life. In that moment, I truly hated Eric for the first time; he destroyed my fairy-tale where Bill and I lived happily ever after. I’ve heard of rose-colored glasses, but mine must have been opaque because I couldn’t see any damn thing through them! I know Eric was only trying to protect me, but the truth hurt. It hurt a lot, because it meant I was a naïve fool who let a boy take over her life. I’m a telepath for Pete’s sake, I know better than that; I’ve heard it all a million times before. To fall for it myself was a giant slap in the face. And being the stubborn, immature, bitch that I was, I took my pain out on Eric. His face was as pained as my own, but he gave me the space I demanded.
The night I returned from the fairy realm, I was not surprised to see both of the vampires interested in me on my porch steps. Bill’s reaction felt forced, as if he was performing before an audience. Eric’s reaction was unexpected however. Gone was the indifferent mask he usually displayed to the world; his eyes, his voice, and his face displayed the myriad of emotions he felt. His words told me that he was the only one who had not given up on me; it hurt to hear how easily everyone had moved on with their lives. His face looked almost boyish in his happiness to see me. But it was his eyes that told the greatest story. His beautiful blue eyes were burning with intensity, making them seem to crackle like an electric spark. So many emotions swirled in his eyes that it was hard to make them out, but I could definitely see one; longing. I don’t know what happened to Eric in the year I was gone, but something in him changed when it came to me. He was still a smug, sarcastic ass (and what an ass it was!), but he was different too. I knew Eric wanted to have “passionate, primal sex” with me, but he was demanding more as well. As he put it, he wanted everything.
“Everything” is a scary concept when dealing with a “normal” human being; it’s even scarier when dealing with someone over a thousand years old. Our definitions of everything were vastly different. To me, everything meant sharing my life with someone; having a partner I could rely on. When Eric defined everything, it seemed as if he wanted to consume me, that nothing of myself would be left. I was scared.
But then Eric was cursed by Marnie/Antonia. Amnesia Eric was beautiful, gentle, and sweet; it was easy to fall in love with him. That’s not true; I was already in love with Eric. Amnesia Eric made it easy for me to admit I loved him. Eric without his memories was the very best part of Eric; the part he kept hidden from the world. The only other time I had ever seen this Eric was his interaction on the rooftop in Dallas with Godric. It was amazing . . . and wrong at the same time. It hurt me to see Eric so vulnerable, so lacking in confidence. It shocked me to realize how much I missed our bantering, how much I missed that smirk of his; I missed his swagger. I couldn’t allow him to stay a shell of himself for the rest of his existence; it wasn’t fair to him or me. That’s why I wanted to help Bill fight the witches.
I should have known that trying to help Bill would come back to bite me in the ass . . . or in this case, shot in the stomach. The only people in the cemetery that had guns were Bill’s goons. It seems awfully coincidental that I was the ONLY ONE to get shot, and Bill just HAPPENED to be on hand to give me his blood. Fucking asshole! Once again, Bill Compton made me doubt myself and what I felt. If that fucking putz wasn’t a necessary evil now I would walk across the cemetery and stake his undead ass myself!
When Eric’s memories returned, I was scared. I allowed my fears and Bill’s fucking blood to paralyze me; to make me turn my back on my one shot at love. I walked away from them both because I said I couldn’t make a choice. That was part of my reason. As much as I hate it, part of me will always love Bill; he was my first everything. But I knew even then that I wasn’t “in love” with Bill. Eric was the one I loved, and I would have given him “everything”. That is why I ran; I was scared to love all of Eric and I was scared to have him love me. Eric was larger than life, a freight train that barreled through everything in his path. I was afraid I would lose myself in him, and where would I be when he decided he wanted to move on to someone different? Eric was supposed to live for eternity, never changing. I am mortal. Would he really be interested in me when my skin was lined with age and my body wasn’t that of a youthful woman? Would he have been by my side when my body began to fail me? I couldn’t bear the idea of giving myself to Eric and then having him leave me when he lost interest. So I ran, and I did him the greatest disservice ever. I didn’t trust in his love for me.
Had I not been so wrapped up in my pain, I would have noticed Debbie Pelt in my house. If I hadn’t been so consumed in self-pity, I could have prevented Tara’s death. It should have been me that died that night, not Tara. And I will forever feel guilty for choosing to turn her into something she despised, especially since I had never wanted that for myself. Tara has never forgiven me for making that decision (rightfully so), but we are trying to move past it as best we can. Of course, with the way things are today, we really don’t have a choice but to get along.
The guilt I felt over spurning Eric, the guilt I felt over having Tara turned into a vampire, and the guilt I felt for keeping Debbie’s death a secret put me in a tailspin. (No, I didn’t feel any guilt about killing the bitch; she totally deserved it after trying to kill me several times!) I was a terrible person; I deserved to have terrible things happen to me. I was a walking disaster, everyone I loved I ended up hurting. But then a funny thing happened . . . I felt Eric. I never knew a mortal could feel a vampire. I later learned from Niall that when a vampire and a mortal exchange blood at relatively the same time it creates a blood bond. Eric and I had started one in his cubby after the witch tried to have all the vampires meet the sun. I didn’t realize when Eric said “we would be one” that he meant for us to bond . . . to be honest, I never really knew what he meant by that. I only knew that it was important to him.
Niall explained that it took three mutual exchanges for the blood bond to form. Eric and I had only done the one mutual exchange, but I felt him. I know I did because bloodlust doesn’t (normally) run through my veins. I revealed in the connection; I wrapped it around me like a warm blanket. Even though I had pushed Eric away, I still had part of him. It comforted me; it soothed me . . . until I felt his lust for another. I had one of those, “Ah, bitch, hell no!” moments that you usually see on Jerry Springer. How could he? How the fuck could he fuck someone else when he said he loved me? To me, this validated my fear that I wasn’t enough for him. Less than a week after saying he loved me, he was fucking someone else. Well fuck him, no pun intended!
And that’s how I ended up drunk, singing (good God what was I thinking?!?!?!), and making out with Alcide. Revenge sex seemed like a good idea at the time. Thank God it didn’t happen though. Even if I was pissed at Eric and Bill for showing up and demanding my help, I was thankful they stopped Alcide and me. Alcide is a good friend, a great man, but he isn’t the one for me. I know that and I think part of him knows that too; we would have used each other as rebounds.
Russell Fucking Edgington . . . who the hell thought it was a good idea to leave him undead? Part of me wanted to tell the two vampires in my life to go fuck themselves for causing this problem, but I didn’t. I knew Russell would come after me with everything he had eventually. And I was right; he showed up at the hidden fairy club. Fortunately, Eric was there to save me; my vampire in shining armor. Knowing Eric, he probably had a set of armor that he had worn during the Renaissance or some other time period that I couldn’t even begin to comprehend. He probably would have shown up at my house in the armor and nothing else just to prove a point. Did I mention he was over-the-top? God, I miss that . . .
With Russell out of the picture, I thought the only thing I had to worry about was Warlow. WRONG! We had to go save Bill from partaking of the Kool-Aid known as the Blood of Lillith. Is it me or is Bill like an insecure teenage girl? He’ll follow anything as long as someone else is doing it? But Eric wasn’t the type to turn his back on someone he considered an ally or friend; somehow Bill had become both to Eric. What neither of us counted on was Bill drinking the blood of Lillith and becoming . . . Billith? I’m not even really sure what happened there. All I know was once again Bill hurt me; he called me an abomination. Was it any wonder I staked him to save Eric? Pity it didn’t work . . .
And that was the last evening I saw Eric Northman. He was a beautiful savage, covered in the blood of his enemies, and yet, he reminded me so much of “amnesia Eric” when he told me I would always be the girl in the white dress that walked into his bar. His eyes were filled with love; a shy smile gracing his handsome face. It broke my heart to see it among all the ugliness of the evening. I wanted to tell him that I loved him, that I needed him. But I couldn’t endanger his existence anymore. I couldn’t put him in harm’s way. I had no idea what I would be dealing with when it came to Warlow. So after everything he had done for me, I did the one thing for Eric I could do; I set him free. After he gave me back my home (I can’t even talk about what that means to me), like an idiot, I rescinded his invitation. Eric knew the gesture for what it was; good-bye. I heard his vampire sister Nora (I have mixed feelings about her, and I don’t want to go down that road!) say I was Eric’s weakness because he loved me. Eric didn’t deny he loved me, but he did say it was in another life.
He was right.
In another life, Eric and I would have been happy together. Our relationship would have been somewhat normal, or as normal as a relationship between a vampire and a fairy-hybrid could be. I would have loved him; he would have loved me. Nothing else would have mattered.
But we didn’t get to have that life.
I lost Eric the night we ended Warlow. After we ended Warlow, I fell to the ground in agony. It felt as if my skin was burning, as if I was on fire. The only thought I had in my mind before I passed out was Eric. The next thing I remember was waking up in Dr. Ludwig’s hospital. The good doctor, in her abrasive way, told me that I had been in a coma for two weeks and she had no idea why. But I did. I knew something had happened to Eric. I couldn’t feel him anymore. When I looked inside myself, the spot where I normally felt Eric was nothing . . . lifeless . . . empty. After running a myriad of tests to make sure I was ok, Dr. Ludwig released me to go home.
Home . . . I wouldn’t have my home if it weren’t for Eric. He had lovingly restored every aspect of this house after Maryann’s destruction. Alcide told me that his company had been the one hired to do the major construction work. He said he would often stop by the site at night to check the progress and he would find Eric there. Eric painstakingly searched through the rubble to salvage everything he could. He said that Eric insisted that everything be updated to current building regulations, but the house was to look as I remembered. Alcide told me that Eric was a giant pain in the ass during the entire project, but he could see how much Eric grieved during my absence. He used the restoration of my home as a way to be close to me. I guess you could say I was doing the same thing . . .
I spent days wallowing in my grief, tucked away in Eric’s cubby, until Willa finally came to see me. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to think of Willa. She said Eric had made her a vampire as a political move to get back at her father, the late Governor Burrell. Unfortunately, it backfired on him. I couldn’t see Eric taking another progeny so callously; after all, it had taken him almost 900 years to make his first progeny. And despite their recent issues, I knew Eric truly loved Pam and she loved him. I just didn’t see how Willa fit in.
Willa said she knew what I was feeling; she too could no longer feel Eric through the maker/child bond. She was hurting, struggling to survive. She and Tara had both been orphaned by their makers. Willa told me she didn’t know Eric well, but she knew she respected him. She said she wanted to survive to honor his memory, and since I was the only one around that had been close to Eric, she was wondering if I would share my memories of him. Willa said that by sharing our memories of Eric, we could keep him alive between the two of us.
So that’s what I’ve been doing for the last five months. Willa, Tara, and I share my home. I had Alcide’s company build a larger light-tight space on the property so they could have a safe place to stay. I couldn’t bring myself to let the girls stay in Eric’s cubby; it was too soon. I shared with Willa everything I knew of Eric, keeping nothing from her. In return, Willa shared the few memories she had with me. Tara scoffed at what we were doing, but she never missed a time when Willa and I got together. I knew she missed Pam. She could sense that Pam was still undead, but she was very far away. When I asked her why she didn’t go to her, she told me to fuck off. (That’s the Tara I know and love.) She later told me that she didn’t want to go to someone who obviously didn’t care about her. My poor Tara; she had a shitty human mother and it looks like her maker is turning out to be just as shitty.
The really funny thing in everything is that a part-fairy is teaching two baby vampires how to survive. The three of us have learned how to fight and defend ourselves. Alcide, Sam, and James, Jessica’s vampire boyfriend, are our teachers. In return, Tara and I are teaching James how to fire guns and shoot a bow and arrow. (We’re girls from the country; we were taught how to hunt before we were taught how to read.) Niall is even teaching us how to train with swords. If I say so myself, the three of us are becoming pretty badass.
Niall and I have worked on strengthening my fairy abilities as well. Given the current situation, I can use all the help I can get. Hepatitis V, a deadly virus created in Vamp Camp, has spread throughout the United States. Initially it caused many infected vampires to meet their True Death. However, as viruses are prone to do, it mutated and is no longer an instant “death sentence” for an infected vampire. But there is no cure. We are forced to defend ourselves against rogue vampire attacks. It has become unsafe to go out at night. Non-infected vampires are struggling to find nourishment; bars like Fangtasia no longer exist as a nightly buffet for vampires. Blood banks have shut their doors. Anarchy has descended upon us.
As the last of the sun’s rays have disappeared, I move inside. My eyes are drawn to the doors of Eric’s cubby. It has been several weeks since the last time I was down there. I open the doors, and climb carefully down the ladder. Once inside, I look around the tiny space. Memories come rushing back to me of my time in there with Eric. The ache in my chest throbs painfully and tears fall from my eyes. I sit on the bed and rub my hand against the covers.
I miss my Viking so much. I regret that we didn’t get our happily ever after. If I had made different choices, I could have been snuggled up against Eric’s side waiting for him to rise for the night. The moment his eyes opened, I could have been wrapped in his arms, his lips moving against mine in greeting. We could have spent our night making love.
But it’ll never be.